Musings on Bicycling and Buddhism

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


In the BBC show Doctor Who, in the revamp that began in 2005- the Doctor does through a somewhat difficult regeneration at the start of the episode The Christmas Invasion.  It makes him essentially sit out most of the episode, but once he comes to- the glorious words of Russel T. Davies come rolling off the tongue of David Tennant in a great performance of a stream of introspection:

Sycorax Leader: [shouts] I demand to know who you are!
The Doctor: [shouts, imitating him] I don't know!
The Doctor: See, there's the thing. I'm the Doctor, but beyond that, I - I just don't know. I literally do not know who I am. It's all untested. Am I funny? Am I sarcastic? Sexy?
[he winks at Rose]
The Doctor: Am I an old misery? Life and soul? Right-handed? Left-handed? A gambler? A fighter? A coward? A traitor, a liar, a nervous wreck? I mean, judging by the evidence, I've certainly got a gob.

You see, every time the Doctor regenerates he changes his physical form but he is the same "man" with the same memories, but his personality needs a little breaking in every time.... and in this scene he's so new, he's untested, he doesn't quite know who he is yet...

...and Charlie has recently had his own regeneration.  There's a little change up in here:

He has a shiny new rear wheel, that's true. He has a new chain, that is also true.  But what's really new and exciting for Charlie is the flipflop hub (by Orion) on this new rear wheel.  Fixed gear on one side.  Freewheel on the other.  Right now, as in the picture, he's set up fixed gear. (But he could go freewheel with a quick flip of the wheel!)

Charlie has regenerated as a fixie.  And we don't know exactly what sort of man that will make him- yet.  He also has rear caliper brakes by Shimano now instead of the ol' coaster brake*. Thank you Cambridge Bicycle for once again being awesome, and also for doing this all in one day so I didn't have to be without Charlie any longer than necessary.

Riding the fixed gear situation feels like learning to ride all over again.  Riding is physically challenging now, I'm actually tired/sore!  Getting stronger!  Running a 42/16 gearing situation at the moment, but I'm only just understanding what that means.  Pedaling constantly is taking a little getting used to.  Picking up the toe clips (pedal baskets) whilst pedaling is awkward. (Charlie says, "You wanna coast, bwahahaha no more coasting for you, you lazy old bum!")  Pedaling to stop is fun, even that is a workout.  It's making me more mindful of my posture.  I could go on and on... stay tuned while I write about trying to figure out how to do a track stand!

*Whatever happened to the coaster brake and the old wheel?
The old wheel decided that more than 3,500 thousand miles was long enough for that hub.  And goodness did I get the money's worth out of that hub. (But wait! you say, Charlie has gone more than five thousand miles!  Yes, but remember last November when the hub was replaced, so less the 5 thousand, but still from the spare parts pile...) The symptoms: As I would pedal the resistance would be normal, then all of a sudden it would drop to nothing, feeling almost as if I had downshifted to a lower gear, but there is no other gear, not on a single speed.  Then the resistance would increase, then return to normal.  It made pedaling erratic at best and kept hurting my knees.  The rear hub overhaul from a couple of weeks ago did temporarily relieve the symptoms but after this weekend's bicycling excursions on Cape Anne (more on that to come) it returned with a vengeance.    So rather than play the-let's-fiddle-with-each-part-of-the-hub's-innards-until-we-figure-out-what-it-is, it was time for a new wheel before winter.

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Tour de What You Will by Jessie Calkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License